tv [untitled] May 3, 2012 7:30pm-8:00pm EDT
news to hear the consistent drum beat against environmental protection and that has very real consequences. last year, republican leadership in the house of representatives orchestrated a total of 191 votes against environmental protections. much of that happened in response to myths and misleading information about epa and its work. to give one example, there was an assertion made by lobbying and industry groups the epa was putting forth a train wreck of regulations that will hobble our economy. that claim was repeated in major news outlets and on the floor of congress. in fact, one of the bills restricting clean air protections was titled the train act. only problem, it was no train wreck. the claim was founded on an american legislative executive council report about regulations that epa never actually proposed. the fact is we can't create an economy that is built to last by putting our nation into a race
to the bottom, a race for the weakest health protections and the most loopholes in our environmental laws. for those of you born after 1970 it would be the first time in your lives that the health and environmental protections that you grew up with and maybe take for granted are not steadily improved but deliberately weakened. the result will be more asthma, more respiratory illness, more premature deaths. what the result won't be is a clear path to new jobs. no credible economist links our current economic crisis or any crisis to clean air and clean water standards. in fact, our experience indicates just the opposite. epa has been around for 41 years. during that time, americans have seen gdp rise 200%. after all that time and all that growth, it is clear that we can have a clean environment, better
health and a growing economy all at the same time. now let me be clear. accomplishing all of these things at once requires diligence. president obama has directed federal agencies to review regulations to eliminate unnecessary burdens for businesses and ensure that vital health protections remain intact. that is a good idea. but streamlining regulations is not the beginning and end of our plan. it's not the only idea we have to face -- that we use to face the broad range of economic challenges ahead of us. we need proactive measures to insource jobs that should be created here in america. aggressive steps to strengthen our manufacturing sector. new ideas to make sure our workers have a fair shot and strong support for innovation. the backbone of our economy and certainly critical to a new era
for american energy. i'm proud to serve a president who said that we can't wait on these issues. i'm proud to know that he believes that epa's health protections are vit toal to the american people and the choice between our economy and our environment is a false choice. and i'm proud to serve in an administration that's committed to building an economy that's built to last. we can either settle for a country where shrinking number of people do really well while more americans barely get by or we can build a nation where everyone gets a fair shot. and this make or break moment for our middle class, we have great opportunities to serve the american people and strengthen our future. the strategy to grow our economy by simply doing less is not good enough. it's not how we meet the needs of the people that we serve. i'm here today because so much of what is at stake will shape your future and you have the power to influence the direction that we go. i cannot say how critical it is
that you lend your voices to our discussion here and to our discussions in our country over the next months. i know many of you are here to talk about your commitment to the issues of sustainability. and i look forward to having that discussion in just a few minutes as well. thank you for coming. and thank you for everything you are doing in school. do well there. that's important, too. i've got to let the mom in me finish. do really well in school. your parents are paying your tuition. and thanks very much. >> administrator jackson, thank you so much for your remarks. i greatly enjoyed them and i can say they resonated very well with this longtime business professor. i'd love to have a conversation directly with you about that but my job today is to moderate the questions. >> we can do that later. >> the questions are coming from the students in the audience. they are submitting them and
professor jacobs right now. they've also come in via twitter and so let me start with the first one. and this is charming. what is your advice to a young woman who would some day like to have your job? >> well, maybe i'll start where i ended which is presuming that young woman may be in the audience or is still in school, i just recently did a lovely white house event on science, technology, engineering, math. stem, they call it. and i know many of you may not be science majors but it's really important to recognize -- i love to talk about the connection between environmental protection, which may seem like something not technical and technology. you all probably don't remember catalytic converters, but simply recognizing that the air over los angeles or houston or some of our major cities is a
significant cause of asthma, respiratory illness, heart attacks, premature death inspires innovators to realize that's going to make the air cleaner. that's not going away any time soon. so the epa can't protect health without technology. because we cannot adopt rules that put a huge burden on the economy without cost effective solutions to address the problem. so, you know, the history of epa is a history of innovation. even if you aren't a science and technology major, i would strongly advise that you keep that in mind from the standpoint of epa and understand that connection. whatever you are study, we've had lawyers, all kinds of folks who have won the epa. probably more lawyers than anything else. and this is a city -- a town of lawyers. you are all bucking the trend potentially, but i would say it's also important to recognize that increasingly, and i'm sure we're going to talk about
sustainability, the private sector is key, too, right? there's no such thing as government does or impose on the private sector. the private sector, being a part of this, can mean that we can see changes in everything from behavior to marketing to wants to needs to an economy that's built to last. >> pursuing a masters in sustainability might -- >> a little advertisement. >> okay. here's a more -- a current topical question. what are the epa's plans for conducting more research on the effects of natural gas fracking. >> sure. so epa has ongoing a two-year study on the impact of fracking, hydraulic fracturing, which is the primary technology that's making all this natural gas potentially available for us in our country. and its impact on drinking
water. it's been scoped publicly with peer review of the scoping of the document and right now we're in the data collection phase. we've said we'll be rolling out some interim data and information as we get it and probably the earliest we'll see that is towards the end of this calendar year. this study is scheduled to be completed in about a year from then. so it will be completed some time in 20 -- this is 2012, right? 2013. so we've also -- we just put out, finalized, rules for air emissions. if any of you have heard me speak before, i say all the time that natural gas is tremendous opportunity for our country, especially when it comes to carbon pollution, but it needs to be done, as the president would say, safely and responsibly. one of the areas that has potential to be of concern if not addressed by the states and federal government is air
emissions. right now, we inadvertently emit a lot of natural gas in the process of finishing and completing the natural gas wells. natural gas is a greenhouse gas. it's much more potent than co2 although shorter lived. from the standpoint of our planet and also for vocs which are precursors to the formation of smog. it's been volatile organic compounds that are responsible for the emissions in wyoming where they don't have a lot of cars or a lot of other big smog producing but they have really high smog days in certain areas. it's a combination of emissions from oil and gas development and their topography that keeps the air right where it is and they have an inversion and people are seeing smog levels as though they lived in l.a. so we can't ignore that. i thing way to deal with that and states are stepping up is we
have to address air emissions, drinking water concerns. the federal government, the president has put into next year's budget proposal, his budget is we should work with the department of energy and the department of interior to do additional studies to ensure that hydraulic fraccing is done safely and responsibly. >> thank you. on the topic of emissions, is there a timeline for creating regulations for co2 emissions from existing power plants? >> so we just -- we just proposed a regulation to deal with co2 emissions from new power plants. so if you want to build a new power generation facility in this country under the clean air act, the existing authority under the law of the clean air act, we've proposed regulations for actually mandates maximum carbon emissions, i think, of 1,000 pounds per -- a million
btus. no, kill watt -- that's bad. okay, 1,000. but it will come back to me in a second. but i think we should go through public comment on those as you might imagine. that's going to be -- these are our nation's first real standards to limit carbon pollution from energy generation. the largest sector in terms of energy -- in terms of greenhouse gas pollution in our country. and so we need to do them. we need to do them right. we're going to start -- i think we just started 60 days comment and i think we should focus on finalizing those rules because they're going to be, i think, very important. they're being watched around the world as well. by the way, we already addressed carbon pollution from cars and trucks. those historic fuel efficiency standards are also extremely helpful in helping us ratchet down carbon emissions from our cars. obviously, the fuel you don't burn is a huge savings, but making our cars more efficient,
our air conditioners in cars, those refrigerants are also very potent greenhouse gases. all that is included in those rules as well. >> thank you. this question is, by what year, and maybe it should say, do you see the u.s. relying primarily on renewable energy sources as opposed to oil, gas and coal? >> you know, every forecast from all the energy agencies shows that there is a doubling of solar power in the last few years. real takeoff in terms of solar as batteries become even cheaper and storage for technology like solar that are only available when the sun is out and shining gets cheaper and more available. i think you'll see that continue. obviously, wind. the president, the department of interior has outlined support for wind projects off our coast
and in other areas. it's taken off in parts of the midwest as well. so, you know, i think every forecast shows that we're going to continue to be dependent on fossil fuels. the price of natural gas is down, by, i believe, 30% since the beginning of this year. supply is up. i think it's down to $2 per btu or something, or less. and so it's very, very cost competitive with respect to coal. so i think we're going to see additional moves in that direction following the marketplace. i also think that we're going to continue to see, as the president has said, a need to invest in the technology, the research and the energy efficiency side. please don't forget energy efficiency. the need between building any
new powerplant and retrofitting or dheepg ones we have or investing in some of the renewables is the peak times. really hot days in the summer, for example. and if you can bring those peaks down you just need less power because we power up. we have generation to meet the peaks. >> this is particularly interesting. as you note, delaware is hoping that there will be a big growth of electrical powered cars. what are the most important strategies to improve vehicle mile per gallon and reduce vehicle environmental impacts? >> well, i think the most important strategy is something that if you had asked me about it before i became epa administrator in 2009, i would have wondered what you were thinking. just to give you a sense hough much the landscape has changed in the leadership of this president. you know, forever, there's been the clean air act for
california. you saw the recent reports, 8 or 10 of the top cities from many indices from the american lung association are cities in california. that affects the health of millions of people. so california has a special place under the clean air act because of that fact and because their programs in many ways are more mature than the federal programs that came first. california can set standards for emissions from vehicles and other states can opt in or out. this administration came in to a war where california wanted to set greenhouse gas emission standards in addition to all the other emission standards they set and had been denied the opportunity because we now have given california the opportunity to do that because that means cars are becoming more efficient. 12 or 13 states joined california in wanting to do that. and then we made national standards that harmonize california standards but the rest of the country. so under this president for the first time ever, we have one
national set of standards that move us towards doubling our fuel efficiency. 55 miles per gallon, and a huge decrease in carbon pollution at the same time. so that's happening. that's on the books. the second set of those standards has been proposed. we're scheduled to adopt this in september or october of this year. we'll have a blueprint for car manufacturers from now through 2025, and it requires increasing every year reductions -- well, increasing fuel efficiency which means reductions every year in pollution. and that's really, really good news. so we've really taken -- we've gone from a place where people thought we couldn't see folks manufacturing hybrids or really efficient diesels. we don't tell people what kind of car to build. and we don't tell them, you know it has to be electric or not.
california is pretty far out in trying to go to zero emissions, if you see their air emissions. you understand why it's necessary in california, like it is in many other places in our country. but i think we're going to see that. the other thing that i think many people are talking about now is natural gas. and its potential to affect the transportation sector. so i'm an engineer. natural gas first and foremost is the building point of all chemicals that we manufacture and use, including things like fertilizer on ag lands. many of you were here talking about a lot of agricultural issues. but now because we have so much of it, potentially you can start to think about using it for power generation. and now because we have so much of it you can really see it as a resource especially for fleets that are based in one location like delivery. maybe even trucking in some parts of the country. it can become an option.
>> here's a more personal question. what's the hardest part of your job? >> first off, it's a great job. i know people sometimes say to me, especially as i discussed, it can be a tough environment here in washington and you all know that really well. it's an incredible privilege to sit at the top of an agency that i worked in. i worked at epa for 15 years. i started as a staff scientist. worked my way up on the career side, left and now i'm back to head the agency. so i know that we have to do our job. i know we have to connect with the american people which is why i love doing events like this. one of our -- i'm not answering a question. but one of our big pushes is expanding the conversation on environmentalism so that people, no matter where they live, especially poor communities, disadvantaged communities, can see in this epa an organization that's there to help them. so we've made a special push
with latinos. i'm an african-american. african-american, the first one to run the agency. if there's any tough part, it's a hard job and a hard environment and if anything, i think we unfortunately spend far too much time talking about the trivial things and not -- and things that are myths. i had to go around the country last year and assure our agricultural communities that we weren't going to regulate spilled milk under oil pollution control even though we had announced and i kept saying over and over or that we're not looking to change the standard for coarse particles, what they would say were called dust. and we spend a lot of time on that all based on this misrepresentations and not enough time really confronting the issues that face us, including climate change, which is going to be determ native for many of you in this room in
terms of what your economies will be looking at and having to deal with. >> this is a more substantive, difficult -- we'll see if it's difficult. how satisfied are you with the country's response to global warming and if you aren't satisfied, what do you think needs to be done in time to prevent a catastrophic tipping point? >> i think it is pretty -- first off, there's the federal response which i think i've outlined to you what we've done under our existing laws. we don't have a climate change law or an energy law that deals with carbon. and so what we've done by law is we've worked under the clean air act.
so, i think we should not underestimate the energy that has happening. the energy that's happening around clean energy around our country and i'm going to say again, whether it's natural gas, which is tremendous opportunity for us. i'm an -- if you to it right, for 40% reduction in some of our greenhouse gas issues. it's an innovation and opportunity. it's shown to work in some places, but you have to have somewhere to sequester. there will be people who see an opportunity there around that technology and then there will be people who look at the energy storage area. i mentioned our leadership in
advanced battery manufacturing. if you think of the states as laboratories of democracy and in this case, public policy, i feel certain that we're coming back to talk about energy in much more, you know, we have to confront it. you all will. you absolutely will. >> thank you. >> i know we're coming toward it is end of our time. one more question. the secretary general of the u.n. has encouraged people to tweet president obama asking him to obtain the rio plus attainable summit. will you encourage the president to attend and will you tweet him in the president? >> i will not tweet the president of the united states. i will speak to the president of the united states on a range of issues that i think are really important. and i will, i think, we've talked about working with the department of state to try to make sure that we're using our ngos and business community
prior to the rio summit to ensure that the united states' input at that summit and presence at that summit with representative of what we do best. which is again, innovate and create in the whether you call it sustainability or clean energy or call it lung toxic, low chemicals or you talk about water when it comes to agriculture. we have to feed potentially $9 billion people. we have to address the fact that at this point in time, more people live in cities around the world than rural areas and that's not going to change. i haven't done too much traveling, but when you see what those cities are like in developing countries or in the bricks countries, you know what they know, which is that they have to feed and create economic opportunities. the initial migration is around economic opportunity, but having all those people in one space
means that the united states has a lot to give, there's money to be made around making sure there's clean water. that we rethink waste as an option for energy. that we rethink waste as an opportunity for materials. i love to talk about electronic waste and how the entire periodic table is in our iphones, yet we're trying to figure out where we're going to get those materials from, i wasn't supposed to say iphones. in our smart phones. it's not an endorsement of any product, please. so, you know, but as we think about all of those opportunities, you simply can't get there without changing the way we think about things and we're blessed in this country that we're so well off. that we can, we can think about them, market them and talk about them. last thing i'll say about rio
plus, the state department gave this great summit. they called it rio plus 2.0. get it? the same kind of changes we see in part of the world based on people's access to information. can really make a huge change in people's access to clean water. i heard about one entrepreneur who said in this one african village, water delivery would come, freed them up to go out and work because they would wait. sometimes a day, sometimes two. because you can't go anywhere, do anything watt without water. so little things. huge things. like energy opportunity and food opportunity and food fairness and also and always, clean. so, thank you very much.
>> i want to thank you so much. i think this was terrific and for all of your community, i want to thank you for coming here, for sharing your time with us. this really is sort of the tu e culmination of our earth week activities and it's been terrific having you here. we're looking forward to this fall when we do introduce that sustainability management. we hope our students will carry on with the same high standards that the epa and that you represent for the epa. i want to thank all of you for coming. we have a final round of applause.
insider knowledge. while in congress, i worked in senate town and in afghanistan and on the problem of iraq and we know bin laden personally was involved in communications to try to corral or bring under control. we know this early on al shabaab in smaomalia. but we know he was there and doing that and as a consequence and no surprise, we were talking about a global ideology -- >> how has national security changed since the death of osama bin laden? intelligence community members continue to weigh in. see what they have to see online at the cspan video library. all archived and searchable. this weekend, seth jones documents the war against al-qaeda since 9/11 in hunting in the shadows. he's interviewed by a.p. intelligence reporter. saturday night at 10:00 eastern.